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Print

Tomlin on the Chargers

Posted Dec 9, 2012

Coach Mike Tomlin takes a look at this week’s opponent – the San Diego Chargers:

Q. You made a couple of roster moves in advance of this game against the Chargers. Would you explain your thinking?

A. We have a little clarity now at the quarterback position, and we appreciate the efforts of Brian Hoyer, but we have some other things we need to get done. The cornerback position, with Ike Taylor down, we needed to fortify the depth in that area, so we promoted Josh Victorian from our practice squad and you’ll see him today in a helmet playing some special teams and maybe even some defense.

Q. Ike Taylor will have his streak of 135 consecutive games snapped today by his injury. Can you sense his frustration?

A. It’s easy to sense. Ike is a competitive guy , and he wants to be one of the reasons we’re successful. It literally is painful for him not to be on the field today with his teammates.

Q. Cortez Allen will get the start today in place of Ike. Are you concerned the Chargers might target him early?

A. I’m not concerned. That’s a definite. All you have to do is look at the Baltimore tape from last week and see that they want to target him, and not only him but Curtis Brown. That’s just part of being a young guy. It’s going to be their job to send them back to the other side by producing plays.

Q. Does Ike’s absence limit your defensive game plan?

A. Not at all. We’re going to hold the young men who replace Ike to the same standard. It might not look like Ike work, but we expect Ike-like production. That’s just how we roll. Those guys understand that and embrace that.

Q. Was the sack/strip by James Harrison, in your mind, the turning point of the game in Baltimore?

A. It was one of the many turning points. I thought our ability to return that kickoff to midfield right before halftime and put points on the board and get some momentum right before halftime was significant. But no question that in the waning moments of that football game, guys like James Harrison are always ready and capable of delivering.

Q. What was the key to the win over the Ravens, in your mind?

A. For us, I thought it was about converting red zone opportunities into touchdowns. The last time we played those guys, we were faced with a red zone opportunity and Mike Wallace couldn’t get his feet down (in the end zone) and we settled for three points and really that was the difference in the game. We had two red area possessions in the second half of the second game, and we put seven points on the board both times against the No. 1 red zone defense in football. That’s how you win games on the road.

Q. Have you ever seen a play by a tight end better than the one Heath Miller delivered at the pylon in Baltimore?

A. That was special. We were in Friday’s practice, and I saw Antonio Brown trying to emulate it. When you have a wideout with the physical skills of an Antonio Brown trying to emulate what Heath did, that lets you know how special it was.

Q. Mike Wallace has said in an interview that his lack of concentration, which was the way he termed it, might be because the offense is spreading the ball around so much. Do you buy into that?

A. He’s just trying to provide what he thinks are appropriate answers for questions. We don’t make excuses, and Mike isn’t one of those guys. But if asked 1,000 ways and 1,000 times, he’s going to give them something so he can move on with his day.

Q. Will you make a concerted effort to get Wallace involved more?

A. He’s a big component of what we do. Not in response to that statement, simply because including him helps us win.

Q. What does San Diego bring to Heinz Field that gets your undivided attention?

A. Their ability to stretch the field vertically. Not only in the fact that Norv Turner as the play-caller has had that history, and the fact that quarterback Philip Rivers is capable of doing it with his arm, but they have some vertical wide receiver threats, some big-bodied guys. Malcom Floyd is 6-foot-5, Danario Alexander is 6-4-and-change, and of course Antonio Gates is a mammoth tight end. There are vertical issues and problems with them getting yards in chunks, and we have to minimize that.

Q. Gates is third on their team in terms of number of receptions to this time in the season. Do you see this eight-time Pro Bowl player slipping a little bit?

A. That’s just a function of living, but he’s still a very effective player, a player we have issues dealing with. He’s a very tough coverage assignment for a linebacker, and he’s a big guy for safeties to deal with.

Q. Their running attack ranks 14th in the 16-team AFC. Is that a function of the problems they have been having along the offensive line?

A. A lot of things going on with them offensively are probably a product of what’s going on up front. But they’re a very capable group, and they have a very talented runner in Ryan Mathews. At the quarterback position, the Chargers obviously are special.